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ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBS) â€• Thousands of dogs across the country visit hospitals and nursing homes giving lots of love to people who are in the most need of it. Among them is a special Golden Retriever from New Jersey, who is now engaged in a fight of his own, a fight for his life. CBS 2 introduces us to Inker.
Inker brings joy to cancer patients at Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Twice a week, the 9-year-old pet therapy dog showers people with love and kisses, helping those low in morale to find the strength to carry on against the most powerful and daunting enemy of all, cancer.
Inker's bond with patients is now even stronger, after being diagnosed with Canine Lymphoma last month. His owner, Pat Dobson, found the lymph nodes around his neck were swollen, and immediately suspected the worse. Dobson's fear became a reality, and the canine started chemotherapy immediately. He goes once a week for a about 20 minutes, and suffers from the same side effects as the very people he tries to cheer up.
While it's been very tough for Pat, who adopted Inker at 18-months-old, she tells CBS 2 her beloved Golden Retriever is as happy as ever.
"The glory and the blessing with animals is that they don't know how sick they are," said Dobson.
Along with his personal hospital tag, he now wears a cancer survivor shirt that helps inspire patients.
"They come in and they say, I don't believe it, he has cancer too, and I say, he's doing it and getting better, you're doing it and you're getting better, together we're going to make it," Dobson told CBS 2.
Inker has 21 more chemo treatments and plans to keep visiting patients as long as he has the energy. He's already visited nearly 900 patients in the past 2 years and has a lot more work to do.
Canine Lymphoma is pretty common and treatable. In half the cases, dogs achieve remission with chemotherapy and according to Dobson, things are looking good for Inker.